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I’d like to start by saying I’m not one of those vegans who walk around with a soapbox under my arm setting it up at your birthday party trying to ruin the fun. I am also not the one to throw red paint on your new fur or pull up the Meet Your Meat documentary on my iPhone at your next mixer. That being said, I do have a few homies that will do all the above and more in a New York minute. Soooo let’s all play nice, okay? Cool.

Being a lifelong vegan my lifestyle kinda predates all those tactics. I prefer to take more of a diplomatic approach, romancing you with a tantalizing five course meal—proving to you that your favorite dish tastes just as good without the meat and dairy. In general, surprising you with the way that I make plant-based cuisine taste like… well the same cuisine that you know and love.

I often have conversations with friends and the same concerns pop up: “If I knew how to cook tofu I would be a vegan” or “I worry that I will have nothing to eat.” As a matter of fact I’m sitting in my favorite vegan spot in Seattle, Plum Bistro (my sister’s spot), while writing this column, eavesdropping as the couple at the table next to me bargain down from meat eating to a pescetarian diet. “I could never give up shellfish…or cheese.” I pretend not to hear, but the conversation really is a sign of the times. The food conversation has become more inclusive of words like “vegan” and “plant-based” as eaters of all dietary leanings think about how what we eat relates both to our own health and the health of the planet.

Practicing vegan, undecided, or full-fledged carnivore. Keep reading, because I might just have something that will pique your interest. Up and coming posts will include:

  • Try cutting out the animal products and get more protein
  • Being vegan on the run
  • Top 10 pantry must-haves for vegans
  • Navigating a first date with a non-vegan
  • Discover the dirty secrets of veganism

Ayinde Howell is an executive vegan chef and founder of i eat grass, a vegan catering company and lifestyle site that covers vegan cuisine, the arts, current events, and more. He resides in Brooklyn, NY.